US citizenship means a lot to many of us and to the lawful permanent residents of the United States. However, US citizenship is not easy to gain and it is also not a quick process and if you wish to become a US citizen, you need to be a Green Card holder. If you are in the United States on a temporary non-immigrant visa, you cannot file an application for US citizenship. You will have to file the USCIS naturalization application, Form N-400, if you intend to become a citizen of America.
By obtaining a Green Card, you will become a lawful permanent resident of the country and you will be granted a variety of rights. But you need to remember the travel restrictions and you must also remember that you may not vote in the federal elections, if you are a Green Card holder. However this lawful permanent resident status granted to you may not be revoked, as long as you maintain your lawful status in the country.
But US citizenship and lawful permanent resident status are not the same. After you are granted US citizenship, you will become eligible to vote and you can also help your family members to get into the country by sponsoring them. Furthermore, you will never be removed from the country. But US citizenship is a long process and you need to understand the naturalization process before filing Form N-400.
Check Whether You are Eligible for US Citizenship
You may not become eligible to file Form N-400 for naturalization as soon as you obtain a Green Card. You will have to wait for five long years. During that period, you will have to maintain your lawful status in the country. You must pay your taxes and you need to be physically present in the country and must not leave the United States and stay abroad for a long time. You must also make sure that you are not connected to any criminal organizations and that you do not have a criminal history. Moreover, you will have to know about the US history and government and you need to be well versed in English.
File Form N-400
If you believe that you are eligible for US citizenship, you need not put off your US citizenship application and you may immediately file an application for naturalization. You need to complete Form N-400 and mail the form with the application fee and supporting documents, to demonstrate your eligibility for American citizenship. After your application reaches the USCIS office, you will be notified about your biometrics appointment. Following that, you will be called for the naturalization interview.
US Citizenship Interview and Test
At the naturalization interview, you will have to provide detailed information about your background. You need to take the English and the civics tests. After you pass the test, you will be notified about the citizenship ceremony and it is where you will take the oath of Allegiance to the country. You will receive your naturalization certificate and then you may remain as a US citizen, for the rest of your life.